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Israel-Palestinian Peace Process: Easing of Restrictions in Judea and Samaria

(June 2008)

Implementation of plan to ease restrictions in Judea and Samaria - Update and Summary

In accordance with directives from the political echelon, the IDF has formulated an extensive plan to ease restrictions for Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley. The plan will significantly improve Palestinian lives in the area.

The plan was created following a series of meetings between regional IDF commanders, Palestinian security officials and other Palestinian Authority senior officials.

The IDF and the Civil Administration are constantly operating to make possible various relief measures for the Palestinian population while guaranteeing the security of the citizens of Israel.

The plan includes:

Economy and movement:

• The number of Palestinian workers allowed into Israel will be increased by 40%; 5,000 Palestinian workers will be permitted to stay overnight in Israel; 500 permits will be issued for senior Palestinian businessmen.

• Four central checkpoints in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley have already been removed to facilitate Palestinian movement, including: Rimonim checkpoint, that allows free passage between Ramallah and the Jordan Valley; the checkpoint at Asira Ash-Shamaliya, north of Nablus, that allows passage between Nablus and northern Samaria; Bet-Ha’Arava between Jericho and the Dead Sea; and the checkpoint at Sheep Junction that allows passage between Hebron and adjacent southern villages.
• During the month of May approximately 70 temporary and permanent checkpoints were removed; in addition, 130 security officials and governors received permits alleviating travel restrictions. The number of trucks transferring merchandise and goods from Nablus to Efraim Gate was doubled. In addition, 150 agricultural vehicles were permitted to travel from northern Samaria to the Jordan Valley, and the number of NGO workers permits approved was doubled.

Improvement of Infrastructure:

• The authorized plan includes: two intersections in Hebron, and the upgrade of five checkpoints in Judea and Samaria, at a total cost of 30 million shekels. In addition, it was decided that industrial zones will be established in Jericho, Jenin and Tarqumiya, and a hospital will be built in northern Samaria. Additionally, the authorization of 14 plans will allow the legal settling of thousands of Palestinians.

Reinforcement of Palestinian Security Mechanism:

• 20 Palestinian police stations in Judea and Samaria will be established; training for Palestinian security forces in Jordan was authorized. Seven police stations have been opened thus far; three in Tulkarm, two in Ramallah, one in Qalqiliya and one in Nablus.

Financial Conference in Bethlehem:

• Between 21-23 May, a financial conference took place in Bethlehem, aimed at collecting funds for developing the Palestinian economy. The State of Israel prepared for the conference through coordination between the IDF, the Civil Administration and various government offices, to guarantee smooth passage of visitors to the conference. As part of the preparations, international crossings were opened for additional hours and checkpoints were manned by representatives meant to assure the smooth running of the conference.

• The conference contributed to Palestinian tourism, produced profits of 20 million shekels and led to the signing of contracts and investments estimated at 1.4 billion dollars. Palestinian officials publicly expressed their satisfaction with Israeli assistance that contributed to the success of the conference.


Sources: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs